That extra piece of cake. A bowl of hot chips on a Friday afternoon with the grandkids. Or perhaps that fresh bread from the patisserie, laden with butter.
Cravings– we all succumb to them at times. But for those that truly struggle to control them, they are one of the biggest obstacles to successful dieting. In fact, research shows that not only do people with higher-than-average cravings have more weight to lose, but they also tend to lose less weight.
A recent survey of 330 Australians by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, found that a whopping 66 per cent find resisting cravings to be a constant struggle, while 82 per cent feel that losing weight would be a whole lot easier, sans cravings.
With one in five of this group having made over 25 attempts to lose weight, CSIRO carried out a study to explore ways for people to better curb their cravings, and finally, make a diet change that sticks.
The study involved people having two meal replacement shakes in combination with one whole food meal per day. After the three-week mark, they transitioned into a high protein, low-GI weight loss program.
By week three, the average amount of weight lost was 4.1kg and 80 per cent of people felt better at controlling their cravings. By week six, the average weight loss was 5.9kg, two-thirds of people had lost a clinically significant amount of weight, and confidence in being able to resist cravings increased by 19 per cent.
Weight loss was just the tip of the iceberg though.
CSIRO Total Wellbeing Dietitian, Pennie McCoy says “we know that if people engage with changes in the first 3 weeks of a weight loss journey, they’re more likely to achieve their goals at week 12.
“Many people don’t know where to start when it comes to losing weight so feeling adequately supported during the early weeks is really important in maintaining motivation and staying the course.”
The study found that when meal replacements were used within a supportive framework, where transitioning to a whole foods diet was the goal, people learnt to eat well and adopt the healthy practices required to manage cravings and keep off the weight.
“The more we learn, the more we see that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy weight loss. Fast Start provides the added support that people who struggle with cravings need to start strong and cement the new habits that will last them a lifetime,” says McCoy.
Without adequate support, cravings can easily derail a weight loss journey. Set yourself up for success by leaning on tools and support networks, says Pennie: